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The White House Wants Civic Hackers for New Round of Presidential Innovation Fellowship

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 12 2013

There are five days left to apply for the second round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program, which will continue work on projects from last year's first round and work to develop new projects.

The program is geared towards innovators and entrepreneurs from the private sector, non-profits and academia who are interested in working on government projects that take an innovative approach to promoting job creation, saving lives and saving taxpayer money.

The first round began last August with 18 inaugural fellows working on the MyUSA project, an effort to develop a new prototype for how citizens can access government services and information, RFP-EZ, an effort to make it easier for small technology business to bid on government contacts, the Blue Button project, an effort to improve access to health information for veterans and other Americans, the Better than Cash project, an effort assisting in the transition to electronic mobile money for international development assistance payments, and Open Data initiatives.

The second round will focus on nine projects. Four of the projects will be the next phases of the Open Data initiatives, the MyData initiatives, including the Blue Button Project, the RFP-EZ and the MyUSA projects.

The new projects include the following, as a recent blog post by White House CTO Todd Park and CIO Steven VanRoekel outlined:

-- an effort to collaboratively build technology tools for disaster response and recovery, and ensure they are operational in advance of their need, echoing New York City's new Code Corps program.

-- an effort to work with government and industry to create new standards for inter operable, dynamic, and efficient "smart" cyber-physical systems or an "industrial Internet" that combine distributed sensing, control and data analytics and could help grow the American economy and create jobs.

-- an effort to upgrade the financial accounting systems of federal agencies so they are more nimble, modular, scaleable and cost-effective.

-- an effort to develop a suite of tools that can help the federal workforce respond more quickly and efficiently to national priorities

-- and a Development Innovation Ventures effort to help the U.S. government identify, test and scale "breakthrough solutions to the world’s toughest problems," building on a a competitive financing effort by the US Agency for International Development that accepts proposals from startups or established businesses, social enterprises, academic institutions or non-profits for small investments in promising approaches and technologies and larger investments in methods that are showing results.

In their blog post, Park and VanRoekel note that while some of the projects require coding and technology skills, not all do. "We are also looking for gifted and accomplished change agents with skills in user experience design, product management, project management, business development, operations reengineering, and more," they right. "In a nutshell, we are looking for people who can help make big things happen rapidly to advance the public good."